Florida Gov. Rick Scott will challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson this November. Republicans are excited to have such a high-profile recruit in such a challenging year, and a rich one who can self-fund. But Democrats definitely aren’t throwing in the towel. They’re pointing out that Scott has only won his past elections very narrowly in huge years for Republicans, while 2018 looks set to be a very good year for Democrats. And why will it be such a good year for Democrats? Donald Trump. That’s particularly relevant in this race because:
Trump will likely be the biggest trump card Democrats play, considering the role the president’s lack of popularity played in three recent contested bellwether Florida elections won by Democrats in Florida’s 40th state Senate District, St. Petersburg’s mayoral race and Florida’s 72nd state House District.
No governor in the nation has been so tied to Trump as Scott, who was one of the most prominent politicians to back Trump’s presidential run. He also chaired a super PAC for Trump that raised $20 million for him. Scott has often touted how his close ties to the White House have benefited Florida under Trump, who often spends weekends and holidays at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach County.
While Scott has never done much to distance himself from Trump on substance, now that he has a race to win, he’s playing coy:
So does Scott want Trump to campaign for him?
He won’t say.
“I’m going to campaign for this job. I know there are going to be people that like what I’m saying. There are going to be people who don’t like what I’m saying,” Scott said. “Let’s go back to 2010. No one, I don’t believe hardly anybody, endorsed me in 2010. Did that phase me? No. Whether they do or whether they don’t, I’m doing what I believe in.”
Historically, what Scott believes in when it comes to campaigning is running an avalanche of negative ads, so this is likely to get ugly even before you add in the Trump factor.